Saturday, February 4, 2012
Mary 40: The Entire Berlingske Exclusive Interview and Photos: ME ME ME ME ME BLAH BLAH BLAH
Today Berlingske published a very long interview with Crown Princess Mary of Denmark on the occasion of her 40th birthday. What boring drivel. She says nothing of interest or import, but she does lie throughout and contradict herself. A big mouthful indeed got her to Denmark! Stuffing little Freddles in her piehole did the trick. She talks about Africa, work, travel, but you'll notice that she's really talking about herself through all of it. Oh, and she reads Royal Dish and this blog because there is no negative press in Denmark except for skanky, trash magazines like Ekstra Bladet. In this interview, she shows no real emotional connection to anything, including her husband and children. Even the accompanying photographs, by Linda Hendriksen, in a break from the Steens typical of the royal court, convey nothing but coldness and a blank personality with a suspicion of calculation because of her contradictions. No charisma, no personality, no warmth. Just like the biting cold weather in Copenhagen today. Coincidence?
Photo Gallery: When Mary Was Named Donaldson
I Think It's Wonderful Getting Older
Crown Princess Mary turns 40 on Sunday. In an exclusive interview with Berlingske, she talks about the long journey since meeting Crown Prince Frederik at the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000.
Crown Princess Mary turns 40 today. To Berlingske she talks about the long journey since she met Crown Prince Frederik of twelve years ago. About the transformation into Princess, about the joy of her work - and especially her family. But also about uncertainty, "Did I do it well enough?"
Crown Princess Mary masters the rare art of being completely present in the moment. Simultaneously, she also wants to be in control of things, one perceives. Right down to the details. Like when we are in connection with the photo shoot down in the Royal Couple's private garden behind Frederik VIII's palace.
The winter sun makes Sunday's sleet blink like crystals on the lawn. The family dog Ziggy jumps all around; he sees his chance to lure Mary into playing football. The Crown Princess delivers a few precise shots with gusto, while the photographer tries to capture the Crown Princess of Denmark.
Amid all the fuss and effort to make everyone comfortable, Crown Princess Mary breaks away:
"Hey, the lights must be on during the day."
She caught sight of the little band spotlights, hiding in the lawn along the wall toward Toldbodgade [Street] and Amaliehaven [the harbour]. The lights are indeed turned on even though you barely know it in the daylight. But it is a mistake, and I wonder if the Crown Princess ensures that they will take care of it.
The garden behind Frederik VIII's Palace is not flashy, but still pretty much an urban garden. There is room for a barbecue feast, football and trampoline when the weather again turns playful. While we walk around the garden, cannon thunder sounds in the distance.
The time is noon, and it is the day when Denmark has gained another new little princess. That same morning, Princess Marie gave birth to her and Prince Joachim's first daughter, and so Queen Margarethe now has grandchild number eight.
Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik have delivered four of them; the two latest arrivals, twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, will be on 8 January celebrate their first birthday. The party was held in the Great Hall in Frederik VIII's palace.
The newly restored mansion has already been the setting for everything from "delightful guests to popcorn," as the Crown Princess said.
"It is a house that must be lived in, and we are a young family. It must ensure that our children will want to invite their friends home. It should not be so rigid that they can not do anything, but of course it's not as if they are just allowed to go crazy in the Great Hall."
2011 has been an eventful year for the Royal Couple. They became parents of twins, and a few weeks before birth the family moved from Fredensborg to Copenhagen. From the more intimate Chancellery at Fredensborg Castle to Frederik VIII's palace at Amalienborg.
A CHALLENGING JOURNEY
For Crown Princess Mary the twins and the new home at Amalienborg are the culmination of a journey that began when she was twelve years ago met with Crown Prince Frederik during the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
What thoughts do you have on the long journey, now that you have attained the age of forty years?
"40 years is a milestone, but I do not really think that the day has filled up much of my thoughts. I think rather that I run up to my birthday - maybe the entire last year - having found myself in a reflective period of my life," says the Crown Princess and she recognises that although it has been 'a wonderful journey,' then it also sometimes has been more challenging than she might have admitted to herself.
"Earlier I reflected not so much about it, maybe because it's all happened so fast: coming to a new country, getting a new life, a new role. To be married, to learn a new culture and get to know a new society. Coming from the other side of the earth with a completely different upbringing and so I had to fill this role in an institution like the monarchy, which is so strongly rooted in all Danes.
IT WAS A BIG MOUTHFUL
"I felt very strongly that I should prove that I could live up to expectations. Therefore I tried to control as much as I am now even able to check, and perhaps I closed the doors to some sides of my personality," says Crown Princess Mary who feels at any rate that she was always herself.
"But maybe in a slightly limited version. I think it was my way of protecting myself. And probably also reflect a natural uncertainty, when you consider that a person from Tasmania landed in the Danish royal family. I think over the years I have learned to give myself more slack. But I could be better at it."
How did you approach the role of Crown Princess?
"I have always felt that I had hold of the pages that were important to me and the things that interested me; how do I use my abilities and skills for the benefit of Denmark? How do I best represent my country as the person I am? Of course I have also tried every advice. And I have observed and learned from all the other family members. How do they do it? How can I contribute to the big picture while being myself in my area? And it's those personal touches that all members of the royal family have."
Her father-in-law, the Prince Consort, once said that there is no manual for the job as prince consort. Similarly, there are probably no manuals for Crown Princesses?
"No, not formally, although I have read that I went to princess school. Sometimes one might have wished it, but first and foremost that you have to learn and know your country. For if I must stand as a representative of my country externally and also internally, then I must know the country well. I think you need to feel your way forward, and then you have to follow you heart, because you must work with it throughout the rest of your life. "
MEETING WITH DANES
Crown Princess Mary's entrance into the Danish royal family was from the very beginning met with enthusiasm from the Danes, and together with the Crown Prince, she is an exponent of renewal of the Danish monarchy.
What is the response you get from the people, for them personally?
"It still felt very overwhelming when you come out and meet the warmth that they radiate to you. It's nice to feel that you have the public support for what you do. That people think it is important. That sometimes you can make a difference for a single person, other times for many people. It is also moving with the people who show up to greet you. It can bring tears to your eyes. An old lady who sat and waited all morning, and so does she hold in your hand and say: 'Thank you'. You do not feel that you have done something to deserve so much love from strangers. It helps to convince me how important a part of the royal family is of Danish identity. I am sure that my mother-in-law the Queen, also has felt during her 40th Jubilee.
How experienced are you with encounters with the Danes? Is there anything you have found it difficult to accustom yourself to?
"It was not a big culture shock when I came to Denmark. I was so warmly received by my husband's friends and family, so my first encounter with the Danes were very positive. I fell quickly, and when you ask if there were things that surprised me it was the most the little things. Like when I was at a party and not allowed to eat because I had to keep toasting and there was endless talk. In the beginning I could not understand what they said unless I was lucky enough to get a gentleman at the table who was good at translating. So you sat at table in an eternity. It was nice, but different than what I was accustomed to."
Crown Princess Mary has not ever had problems with the Danish humour, she says.
"It is the same, a little black humour that has always been close to me. By now Søren Østergaard and his character Baker Jørgen. It's just so far out. He also performed at our wedding at Christiansborg, but that was before he had an allergic reaction on his hands," says the Crown Princess with reference to Østergaards recent appearance at the Queen's jubilee performance in DR's Concert Hall.
Do you feel today like a Dane?
"Yes. I am Dane. I have a background that I am proud of and happy about and draw on where appropriate. It is part of the person I am and always will be. It has helped to shape me before I came to Denmark, and even after I came to Denmark. "
So you do not miss Australia?
"Australia is a fantastic country. It really is. And I am glad that I was born there and grew up there and that my family moved there. If you think that a little high-flying, it's only a generation ago that my parents came from this part of the world (Scotland, ed.). Maybe it's one of the reasons that I thrive so well in Denmark," says Crown Princess Mary, adding that although she thrives when she is in Australia, she is always pleased to come home to Denmark again.
"For me today I missed most of my family and dear friends."
Are there aspects of the Danish mentality that you have found it difficult to get used to?
"To anyone holding back because you do not have to be better than others. I think that one must cultivate the gift you have received, to the utmost. One must be grateful for the skills you have and the people around you will also support up around it. So the restraint I have a little difficulty with," says the Crown Princess, adding that she herself comes from a background where children competed for dear life to win - either in teams or individually.
"And it's a good feeling. That one will give their best and get credit for having good skills, be it in mathematics, sports or something else. If you always give their best, one can not question anything. But if you always get told that the agent is okay, you get nowhere. But we are well underway, and the new generation does not hold back. Denmark as the country is also well on track to be even more competitive in the global market. That, we have become really good at," she says, adding:
"Actually, it is odd, because the Danes have high expectations of themselves. They do. But at the same time they think ... 'Uh, maybe I was a little too much on their toes'.
LIABILITY AND UNCERTAINTY
The Crown Princess has previously acknowledged that the loss of anonymity sometimes comes with a high price to pay.
If you look at it today, what challenges do you think has been the biggest?
"Maybe you should say the two biggest challenges. One is to be a public person. To be discussed and that many have a view on how to do things the way you move, what they say, how your hair sits. When you're not used to it, you feel very exposed. You get used to it a little, but I've never been a person who sought to be at the centre. It was always my friends who were at the centre, and I enjoyed looking at them.
The second challenge is to learn to believe in myself. Do I now things the right way? I have proved it well enough that I know how my job? I have no background to it, so I've done me much trouble. I felt I had to convince everyone: 'I promise you. I'll tackle this task. "So there has since been in doubt and insecurity and I've covered well, because there are not many who think that I can be insecure. My way to cover up insecurity was trying to control everything that can be controlled. But in reality you can not control very much," says Crown Princess Mary and tells her in the beginning of his duties as crown princess had a tendency even to to prepare.
"If I were going for something that dealt with heart disease, I built a whole new vocabulary up to talk to the people. The day after it was perhaps a visit to Vollsmøse where I would talk to foreigners about being immigrants in Denmark. Every time I go out, I learned a whole new vocabulary and put me into the background for the different topics, so you work insanely hard to follow up. People were downright amazed, but it was my way to cover up the uncertainty. I felt that there was room to make a wrong step."
There is a big responsibility on your shoulders, but as Crown Princess you also have the opportunity to make a difference for people. Do you think that the accounts balance?
"When I said yes to my wonderful husband, I said yes to that responsibility. I was fully aware of what the role entailed. Along with the responsibility I have had great privileges, so it gives a sense of balance. But it is also a great privilege to be able to create attention on topics that are taboo, or be able to shed light on matters that need attention. Finally, I feel a great responsibility for my children. For their upbringing. The children perceive their world as normal, but externally it is uncommon. But again, every mother feels a great responsibility," says Crown Princess Mary and calls the whole period of her engagement to the Crown Prince until her 40th birthday today 'a long start-up phase'.
Recently, the twins' arrival naturally filled much of the Crown Princess's life.
"We feel so blessed that we have four healthy, healthy, beautiful and happy children. First a boy and a girl, then twins. It was - wow! We're going to have twins. I know that we have good help, but for a mother to breastfeed twins and have two older children already, it makes anything just really hard. It is also one of the finest periods in your life because you are trapped in a little bubble with small and innocent children. They are just as God delivered them."
But was it not a long maternity leave with twins? After five months were you in full swing again?
"I thought that I could say yes to a few things and then it suddenly it took on its own life. How did that and it is perhaps also why I'm here inside the reflection period. It probably needed a little adjustment," says the Crown Princess and admits she has trouble saying no to tasks and in reality is her own worst enemy.
"There was never anyone who said, 'Hey, where's she gone?' I felt that there were some expectations that I had back in public. But it was events that I had said yes to two years earlier and which still stood in the calendar. Suddenly, there were many meetings in the nursery. Although I have children, I can not just sign out."
Although the royal couple have both nannies and other good help in everyday life, four children still require some elbow grease.
"We get good help, and we do not have to wash clothes. We have a large house, a staff, a secretariat and some large funds to operate. But first and foremost is the family being happy. To experience all the siblings together. You just sit quietly and observe. The love that flows between them. That is what wealth is. When you have four children, to get sleep also has a whole new meaning," adds Crown Princess Mary and vividly recounts the flight home from Australia when she got dirty looks from her fellow passengers.
The Crown Prince had visited Australia as part of a Danish business promotion. For security reasons, the Crown Prince flew home with the princess Isabella, while Crown Princess flew with the twins and Prince Christian.
"When I moved forward through the plane with the twins and Christian, I could see people thinking: 'If only she did not have to sit next to me. It never goes well.' I did it now, the royal couple have adjusted their children to regular routines, so "fortunately we have very quiet children."
WORLD OF WORK
The Crown Prince Couple's home is also a workplace, both for themselves and a lot of other people, so it may be difficult to completely separate work and private life, admits the Crown Princess.
"It might be a challenge, because in a way it is always his role, for it is itself in its own role. Our work is physically in our home. Next to our home is our secretariat and we have staff who can ask questions at any time of day. So there could easily be a gray area between work and private life. To think I always will be. Meanwhile, you have to have times when you are hundred percent private. That you are. But I would think that both the Crown Prince and I wish that we could stand it better together. "
Work and personal life?
"Yes. But work is very important in our daily lives, and you can not just say, "Now she's private, and now she is Crown Princess. How do you not."
How do you do with criticism and more or less fantastic stories about you and your family in the press? Makes you never want to speak out?
"It is a condition that probably always will be there, but you may well get frustrated. Like when someone writes that I have no social commitment. When I now know that through the Mary Fund reaches out to hundreds of thousands of children by fostering a culture that makes bullying unacceptable and accordingly has helped tens of thousands of battered women. Conversely, it will obviously listen to criticism if it is something you can move on. But I will speak from the heart, I do not think it's very nice, especially if you feel that the criticism is unjustified."
One of your first tasks after the twins' birth was the journey to the Horn of Africa in hunger catastrophe. Why?
"Of course we have some official functions, which are fixed for the year, but there is also room for our own activities and to improvise. The trip to the Horn of Africa last year was such an impromptu trip, because here I truly felt that I could make a difference. I would like to go out and make Danes aware of the terrible situation that was becoming a little forgotten. It's a very prolonged disaster. I could not say no to. "
Does the Africa journey represent a new development in your role as Crown Princess?
"Yes, I think it was a natural progression. You take small bites with her, and you get some experience, knowledge, and develop your interests as well. I said yes to the first patronages because it was something that interested me. It was the areas that I thought was a little forgotten. As human beings we have a natural need for community, and it is the spirit behind the Mary Foundation. Therefore, we have among other things, focus on bullying, on battered women, and most recently in solitude. These are real problems in our society and can all lead to social isolation. "
The business community also vie for the Crown Princess, and here she hopes to make a difference. Recently featured director Karsten Dybvad from Danish Industry royal house of great value as 'ambassadors' for Danish industry in the world.
How have you personally experienced to participate in business promotion - as when you and the Crown Prince last year in Australia?
"Well, our trip together to Australia and the Crown Prince's trip to Vietnam are good examples. It is a great pleasure to represent Denmark, as Denmark has much to offer, and in Australia, we came at just the right time. They had just passed a new law to reduce CO2 emissions, and so we came up with a relevant business delegation with proposed solutions. But of course it's not for me to assess where we are making a difference, "says the Crown Princess, adding that like anything else requires too much preparation for these trips.
One day in the future, the royal couple will be king and queen of Denmark. Crown Princess Mary has previously said that she and the Crown Prince will fill the role of the royal couple on their own personal way, "such has every royal couple has done so."
What thoughts does the Crown Princess have on the fact that she will one day be Queen of Denmark?
"Looking at the tank completely isolated, it is a big mouthful. I see it is that you should focus on where you are here and now. It is perhaps more a principle of how to live his life. You never know what the future holds, and right now I do not know where we are on our journey at the time. "
What do you want for your children's future?
"I wish all of my children. Sometimes one thinks that only you may create its own experience on to his children. But they must do it in their own way. They have them and I am me. You want to do anything in the world for them, and could ease their way, or it was. At the same time, we know that they must go through both great joys and great challenges. I do not think you should try to equalize life too much for her children. Even if you do not like it when they are sad. Life should not be done in a long horizontal line, as one never obtains good fortune," says Crown Princess Mary and believes that hard times help to make us more tolerant and understanding.
"Adversity provides a good foundation for the rest of your life. Losing my mom, it gave me such a depth and a stronger belief that I had not before. In grief, the time has your best and only friend, and eventually you get a kind of acceptance and understanding of what has happened, "says Mary and is clearly moved by the memory of his mother.
"Of course it is terrible when you are in the midst of darkness, but when you come out of darkness, you have some pages with it, which means that you are heading somewhere else. I think it's the journey that all humans make in life. "
If you have to take stock of your life today, how could the headline as read?
"It's been well done if you can summarise your life in a headline. On the family front, I feel very, very blessed. I have the most wonderful man in the world that I love so much that you can love someone else. Together we have four happy, healthy children. Look! It is already a long title, a whole chapter in itself. "
Age is evidently a giant issue these days. How are you really with getting older?
"I think it's great. I do not think about my physical age. I'm in a wonderful period of my life. As a forty year old you know just so much more about what life is all about. It's about being here and now - but I am also for my continued journey. I am very grateful for everything I've been through, because it has helped to shape me as the person I am today. The older you get, the better you get at sorting. What should I take with me and what I do not need any more? What should I give up?
What if we end with a person wish for yourself?
"So it should probably be to learn to believe more in myself and to give myself more slack."
Do you have a wish for Denmark?
"One desire is not enough. Because you will want everything for your country."
That would be a no, then.